What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
The verses above are attributed to Robert Southey in an excerpt from "What Folks Are Made Of," a nineteenth-century nursery rhyme. Its charming depiction of boys is legendary and comparison to playful puppies pretty accurate.
Boys find books most engaging when content is gross, humorous, edgy or just plain silly. Ask any parent. And according to experts, it's normal.
Experts also agree that boys express less enthusiasm for reading than girls. Of course, there's always exceptions to this theory, but let's assume it's basically true. How do you keep them reading? Experiment with books that are stimulating and familiar. Boys like to read the same types of books over and over again ... science fiction, fantasy or any fiction that appeals to their senses will do.
Four titles are chosen with this theme in mind, and one book, published earlier this year, elicits laughter at first glance.
Isaac Carbajal reviews 'Sir Farstalot Hunts The Booger' by Kevin Bolger
In this book, "Sir Farsalot Hunts The Booger," by Kevin Bolger, there is a horrible smell called the "Foul West Wind" - it is a sign that danger is near, or at least that's what Sir Fatsalot thinks. Sir Fartstalot is a very old knight and has a sword named Lucille. For his healthy diet all he eats is turnips! But don't mind his age, he is the best knight alive.
He sets off on a quest to defeat the dreaded Booger, but little does he know that the Booger is really a hoax made up by Harry, the prince of Armpit. Harry's dad, king Reginald wants Harry to become a great knight but instead Harry is secretly known as a royal pain. When Sir Fartsalot comes to the castle and Harry plays the joke, they set off to kill the Booger. On the way they meet a friend, Sir Cedric Knotaclew, and he joins them on their adventure.
One part in this book that I thought was funny was when Sir Bedwetter, a knight of King Reginald is talking to a lady about how "brave" he is, suddenly there was a roar: "RRRRRRRRR!" It is too loud to be a dragon, it has to be giant and fearsome. Sir Bedwetter trembles and ducks.
"RRRrrrribbit!" - it is actually just a bullfrog... and it isn't that big either.
Another part in the book that I thought funny is when Harry and Sir Farsalot are talking about their past adventures over a snack. Sir Farsalot brings cheese to the table for them to eat. During their conversation, Sir Fartsalot stops every so often to "cut the cheese." That is hilarious.
Also, there is a two-headed giant that could never agree with itself. It argues about everything it is going to do. When they find Harry, both want to do stuff for him like get him tea and fruit cake. Soon, the giant puts Harry in a big cage. When the giant starts arguing about something else like getting Harry a blanket, Harry manages to escape out of the cage and out of the house through a small crack in the wall.
I really recommend this book for people who like comedy books - it is really funny and very silly. The illustrations are really good. If the author writes more books, I hope I can review them.
GOOD BOOKS FOR BOYS
Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger
9 to 12
Penguin Group USA
Listen to an excerpt from Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger
4 to 8
Simon & Schuster
Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox
Ages: 9 to 12
Author: Eoin Colfer
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication Date: July 2008
Kenny and the Dragon
Ages: 8 to 12
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 2008
"The Week's Most Talked About Book(s)" is a weekly book review and literary criticism column that publishes every Friday. Selected titles are based on popularity, public opinion, research and observation. Questions, comments and suggestions should be sent to book lover and columnist Karla Mass at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a content producer for McClatchy Interactive.